The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)-Young Affiliates Network (TYAN) was established in 2015 to harness the strengths of young scientists in the developing world in advancing scientific knowledge and to address scientific challenges within our communities. Proposing to work with relevant related bodies in Africa and beyond, TYAN aims to conduct a workshop and also host a symposium themed “Data Science for Solution-driven and Sustainable Response to current developing world challenges" to increase knowledge and build capacity in this field of research in Nigeria and the African continent.
With the increasingly advancing possibility of acquisition and access to data all over the world, there arises more and more complexities with structure and usage of these large pool of data. Data Science has emerged with capabilities to accomplish complex tasks at levels beyond human skills. Digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence enable the collection, organization and analysis of large varied data sets in order to reveal patterns and trends that can help address several problems peculiar to the developing economy.
In current times, a unique infectious disease (COVID-19) with its rapid spread pattern ravaged the world, leaving it with huge challenges. Conventional techniques and measures have proved ineffective and inadequate to combat these challenges. Digital technologies – with big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence have played great roles to support the public-health response to COVID-19 worldwide. Hence, it can be argued that the threat of COVID-19 has become an opportunity for the emergence of various technologies for health interventions. These include efforts at population surveillance, case identification, contact tracing, and evaluation of interventions based on mobility data and communication with the public. These rapid responses make use of billions of mobile phones, huge online datasets, connected devices, cheap computing resources, and advances in machine learning and natural language processing. The developing world requires some formidable efforts that require solution-driven and sustainable response to the challenges posed by this disease using data science. These efforts should extend to meeting other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to produce better societies. Leveraging big data will help understand how to best provide these solutions. However, as many as those who are interested in research in this area are in Africa, the knowledge required to provide value-added results around the use of big data is limited. Although the advancement of scientific knowledge could vary amongst countries in this region, the goal of the symposium is to identify the works that scientists have done with data science as they address the current developing world challenges, especially in relation to COVID-19, other health solutions, and at addressing issues that limit sustainability in our developing societies.
The workshop will identify niche areas where there is commonality or where there are opportunities to address scientific challenges through leveraging on the strengths of others in the region. The idea is to initiate a platform that enable us to maximize the creativity and intellectual skills of outstanding scientists in the region in making an impact on the issues that are most relevant to the developing world and those that are important overall for humanity.
To provide a platform to increase knowledge in Data Science with focus on Big Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence and to explore how these technologies have addressed impact of and response to COVID-19, alongside with provision of sustainable solutions, while building multidisciplinary and international collaborations.
The specific objectives are to: i) provide a platform to exchange ideas and improve the interactions among young scientists; ii) discuss current trends of research and build capacity for researchers in Data Science with regards to COVID-19 and Sustainability; iii) identify niche areas of Data Science that could result in cross-border scientific collaborations. iv) initiate collaborations to address regional issues particularly in the areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG)
3rd – 4th December, 2020.
the selected sub-themes for this workshop are as follows:
- Data Science for COVID-Response
- Data Science for COVID Impact
- Data Science for Bioinformatics and Genome Sequencing
- Data Science for Health Related Applications
- Data Science for Societal Building
- Data Science for Security Management
- Data Science for Environmental Modelling
- Data Science for Sustainable Agriculture
- Data Science for E-Commerce, E-Governance and Smart Energy Solutions
From the 2-day symposium and workshop, we anticipate the following outcomes
- Capacity building: Researchers, Postgraduate students, and Professionals from the Industry in the African region and beyond will learn about the latest developments in the specific areas of Big Data, Analytics and Machine Intelligence research
- Scientific niche areas: Discussions from the workshop will identify niche areas of research and the strengths of the participants leading to competitive research topics to be pursued; especially relating to solving regional problems.
- Scientific interactions and collaborations: Exchange of ideas will result in improvement and advancement of research ideas and scientific studies, and interactions that would form the basis for future collaborative studies
- Publications: We expect to have some outstanding presentations that will be published in the special issue of an open access journal
- Meeting the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs): this event will contribute to several UN SDGs including 1) No Poverty 3) Good Health & Well-being 8) Economic Growth 9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and 17) Partnerships for the Goals”.
Participation is by selection and invitation after registration. Every potential participant must submit a 200 word abstract of a presentation of his/her work on a related topic to one or more of the themes of the event during the registration process.
Participants will be made up of early career researchers, PhD students, Senior Researchers, Professors, Professional data scientists from the Industry within or outside Africa.